A writer should be fully aware of what message their script is sending and take full responsibility for it.
Now obviously this is delving more into the realms of personal philosophy, but read on and see if you agree with me.
The instant anyone puts what's in their head to paper with the intention of selling it, they lose the right to absolute artistic freedom. Whether they like it or not, their work is no longer just for them... there is a bigger responsibility now. If any individual wishes to keep their artistic freedom, they should not attempt to have their work published.
My reasoning for this seemingly unreasonable claim is that art, commercial art, has a big impact on those who witness it. It inevitably influences them to some degree. So if I were to write and sell a film that glorified rape, I could not then proceed to deny responsibility for those that took the message on board.
The fact is that all films possess both constructive and destructive elements that impact the world for better or worse, so as a writer it is my job to sift through my work and ensure that I am communicating as few destructive messages as possible.
Now, let me be clear that I am not suggesting that we all start writing sickeningly perky tales with flawless protagonists that work at homeless shelters and save drowning puppies in their spare time. Heck, the number of writer suicides would skyrocket if that happened. No, I am suggesting that we look at our own work and carefully examine what we are really glorifying and what we are really vilifying.
In that scene where the psycho killer was torturing that vulnerable girl, was the act appropriately vilified? Or, really, did the scene exist just to satisfy and feed some perverse quality in the heart of the viewer?
In that scene where the student really stuck it to his teacher with that hilarious monologue, was the teacher acting destructively enough to justify it? Or, really, did the scene just promote rebellion purely for rebellion's sake?
They can be small messages contained subliminally within single scenes, or even be the whole point of the script. Regardless of their prominence or relevance, writers needs to ask themselves what they are saying and what effect it's having on their audience.
Of course, messages can always be misinterpreted in ways unintended by the original author, but assuming the original author did all they could to be clear it cannot be helped. You can only take responsibility for what you've actually written.
So, did you find yourself nodding as you read this? Or were you shaking your head with a furrowed brow? Let's hear your thoughts!